Dozens of passengers allowed off the Diamond Princess cruise ship after it was hit by an outbreak of coronavirus have developed symptoms, Japan has revealed.
Officials said they contacted 813 former passengers of the vessel who had previously tested negative for the virus, and found 45 are now showing symptoms.
All of those with symptoms have been asked to contact doctors and take new tests to check whether they are also infected.
Japan has faced mounting criticism of its handling of the Diamond Princess ship after a failed effort to quarantine passengers on board after one tested positive led to almost 700 infections and four deaths.
Japan said it had contacted 813 former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were allowed off after testing negative for coronavirus, and found 45 showing symptoms
970 passengers who had been held on board the Princess for almost two weeks amid an outbreak were allowed off after testing negative, but some have now tested positive
Foreign governments eventually decided to repatriate their citizens on special evacuation flights after it became clear the virus was spreading freely on board.
In total, 970 people were allowed off the boat last week after testing negative for the virus, but several have subsequently been diagnosed with the illness.
Japanese citizens allowed off the ship after a 14-day quarantine were asked to stay inside, but no formal measures restricting their movement were imposed.
Opposition lawmakers have blamed the government for failing to implement a fresh 14-day quarantine after the passengers left the cruise ship – as was required by countries that repatriated citizens from the boat.
Infections have also continued to rise inside Japan, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday said hosting large events should be reconsidered.
‘In light of the significant infection risks, we will ask that national sporting or cultural events that will attract large crowds be either cancelled, postponed or downsized for the next two weeks,’ Abe told a cabinet task force meeting on the outbreak.